Arbouretum brings back that good old fashioned psychedelia to rock music with its fourth album The Gathering. Not that new-fangled electronic, synthesized psychedelic music. This is that good old fashion American, guitar picking, doobie smokin’, fat neck singin’, truck drivin’, whisky swillin’, motor oil stain on the back of your jeans sportin’, manly psychedelia.
Arbouretum’s music targets the adrenaline more than the cranium. On The Gathering, the instrumentation is mostly groove-based. None of the guitar or bass lines are extremely complicated and the drummer shows some serious restraint. Even the guitar solos don’t venture to far outside of the simple chromatic and rhythmic realm, but it all comes together to sound effortlessly vintage or retro. The blues power chords that start off “The White Birds,” the opening song, sound like they could only have been played from a five-foot tall Marshall cabinet. The rhythm burns slowly behind Dave Heumann’s crystal clear baritone.
The psychedelic nature of the songs chugs along. None of them end before the four-minute mark, most of the time jamming out on guitar solos and the occasional, back-of-the-throat wailing from Heumann. The closing track, “Song Of The Nile,” is ten and half minutes long and angrily barrels along via simple, burning guitar riffs, like modern stoner metal.
At times the record does sound slightly outdated. Instead of sounding like a ‘hip retro’ group, the band comes off sounding like a ’70s arena rock group. This is understandable as the only young bands to venture into this classic rock-sounding genre in the past ten years have been joke bands, intentionally or not. Luckily, no one will be putting Arbouretum in that category; people just aren’t used to hearing it done right.